Colour is all around us. Nature uses it, we use it. It can be used to portray and instil emotions and feelings within and around us. It unites us, it separates us. It guides us, it warns us. Nature communicates with us through colour, as do sometimes our physcial bodies- ever seen someone literally go red with rage or white with cold?
How do we interpret colour?
For light sources, which is known as additive colour, we use : Red, Green and Blue as primary colours. This is because they are the middle and ends of the visible light spectrum. Red is Long wavelength , Green is Medium wavelength, Blue is short wavelength. Infra Red and Ultra violet are the types of light that we can’t see with the physical eye. Our computer monitors, also using light use red, green and blue light mixes to give us the 17 million or so available colours. 256 shades of red, green and blue, with values of all 0 giving black and all 255 giving white. This is because we start with the absence of light (darkness, black) and add light waves/rays to it.
For painting we historically use red, yellow and blue as the primary colours. The secondary colours are Orange, Green and Violet. And of course we have our rainbow colours: Red, yellow, pink and green, purple, orange and blue”. In terms of printing and painting we are adding pigment together, not light, so we start with a blank piece of paper and add colours. This is known as subtractive colour, meaning that adding all the colours together gives black, instead of white. Modern printing uses Cyan. Magenta and Yellow (with true black).
Historical value of colour
Throughout history, colour has been used to depict heroes and villains, give psychological advantage to armies and unfortunately used as an excuse for bigotry and much worse.
It is suggested that armies wearing similar colours were more likely to be victorious than those in the lesser or unluckier colours. Red has been a prominent one in battle. In sport it was suggested that Liverpool FC changed their kit to all red, to be more intimidating – and they certainly were successful. In US college football, many of the top universities wore variants of red- Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska and USC, etc. That said, blue seems to have taken hold in the NFL, patriots, broncos, colts, etc. Perhaps someone should tell the Cleveland Browns that brown and orange is not a lucky colour combination, apparently!
Using and noticing the colours around you
Try to make sure you get al least 20 minutes a day of natural light- outdoors! The sunshine helps, it is easier to get out of a mood when the sunlight is showing us all the beauty of colour in the world, as opposed to many different shades of dull grey.
Use colour all around your home, wear different colours to help with moods and emotions- eat different colours! Fruit and vegetables give us a number of different colours.
Here’s a basic rundown of the qualities of the basic colours:
RED is one of the primary colours. It is the nearest visible light to infrared in the electromagnetic spectrum. It is the colour of blood. Red is a very active colour. Red can be a warning, an expression of emotion- rage, anger, impulsive, passionate and sexy. It is seen as a strong vibrant and powerful colour. Red is also a colour of physicality. Red often represents the self. Red, along with brown, represent the Base or Root Chakra. Red is also a powerful sexual colour- Scarlet Woman, Red Hot, Red light district.
Red has been used to represent negative emotions- Devil, Satan, fascism (all with black)
Add Red into your life when you:
- Lack enthusiasm or interest
- Feel overly-tired and/or lacking energy
- Feel insecure
- To get rid of unwanted fear or anger
ORANGE is a colour of play, rather work- or playful work! is linked to the heat of the sun and the flame (a lesser heat than Red hot, a good ‘warm’). Orange is a reaching out colour, representing experience and exploration. But – that experience can be risky and orange is sometimes seen as a risky colour… do you meet the tiger or the tigger (boing boing!)? Orange is a colour for instinctive action (or inaction) and good with physical artistic workings.
Orange represents the sacral chakra, the creation centre.
Add Orange to your life when you:
- Need to lighten up- don’t be so serious!
- Feel disinterested in what is going on around you
- Need to let go of the past
- Feel creatively blocked
- Are working through changes that you are resenting (especially family)
YELLOW is the colour of sunshine. The energy of a vibrant sunny morning, it is the vibrational energy of warmth and vitality. It represents the summer, so it is useful in the aid of seasonal affected disorders.
Yellow represents the Solar Plexus chakra.
Yellow when used with black often represents alertness or caution- A Bee/Wasp, Warning sign or hazardous/venomous creature. Construction sites.
Use Yellow to:
- Expel fears and anxiety of the unknown
- Clear confusion and indecision
- Help with digestion problems
- Help with concentration and memory issues
- remove nervous exhaustion and panic attacks, hot flushes
help a weak immune system.
GREEN is the colour of nature. Green is a colour of balance, so no wonder it is the colour of Libra and its stone Green Aventurine! It is also the colour of harmony. On the colour spectrum is in the middle- reds and yellows = hot, blues and violets = cold. Green is a colour of growth, regeneration- like the forest itself.
Use Green to help with:
- manifesting change and letting go of the need to control
- attracting love
- restoring connection with nature
- helping relationships and friendships
- new ideas
BLUE is the colour of distance and intuition. Like the oceans itself, the colour blue is cool and flowing. Blue is a colour of great depth and perspective. Blue is also linked with devotion and communication. – linked to the Throat Chakra and blue crystals. The colour can be very good at freeing the mind from normal day-to-day operation.
Light blues like turquoise (blue-green) are good for luck and deep purification/connection to the extra-sensory.
Use Blue to:
- Calm agitation or excitable/chaotic energies
- Help interpret new information or communicate clearly
- Bring in peace and calmness
- Cool down
- Detach from the ‘system’ of modern life
VIOLET is on the opposite end of the spectrum to red, so it can be seen as the end and the beginning of the cycle of vibration energy. Ultra Violet light (beyond Violet) is opposite Infra-red outside the spectrum of visible colours too. Violet energy is associated with dreaming and fantasy. As a mixture of both red and blue, violet is very good for healing, especially emotional and spiritual hurt. Imagination doorway open with purple- so it is also very good for meditations and journeying.
Using Lavender in therapies is very popular, as an oil or essence.
Use Violet to:
- Speed up natural healing in physical, emotional and spiritual bodies
- Awaken imagination
- Remove obstacles in your life
- Calm hyperactivity
- Re-energise, if feeling depressive or lethargic.
BLACK AND WHITE are not colours in the same way as the others. They represent the lack of, or totality of pigmentation or light. It is often why they are used as absolutes in conversation and daily life.
White is mostly seen as the revelation. The whole energy of equal light in the visible spectrum.
This means that the two get used to explain things like cover-ups and darkness and light.
White helps with clearing away clutter, new beginnings, spiritual enlightenment,
Black is often seen as the concealer, the cover up. Authority. Black is the lack of all light in the visible spectrum. Black also represents the shadow, something we are often to stay far away from- stay in the light. The Egyptians knew black was an important colour as they did understand more about the shadow, represented by the physical shadow you cast.
Of course, there are no absolutes with colour in the world of religion… Nuns and priests wear black, KKK members and other extremists have worn all white.
In the outside world white represents both hot and cold- white hot or as ice cold as snow
Black the same, burning, burnt and also black ice…
Be aware as to how you interact and use colour in your life. It can really assist you, when you take notice.
Injoy, inlight and inlove